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What a great sarcastic look at life. It has it all, the filthy rick, the poor no hopers, and the dumb majority caught in the middle. No hope when the rich are so rich (and botprn to rule) and the poor are kept there. What a world we live in.
I was disappointed the first time I watched it, but I was so puzzled by what Anderson wanted to say about Jacques Cousteau that I kept on watching it, and it gets better with every viewing. It basically seems to be either a critique of Cousteau (with a little bit of Moby Dick thrown in) or an encomium of him and a satire on how an American might have been such a man, with comicbook elements. And there's a Cousteau reference in Rushmore, so I think Anderson is probably a genuine fan of his.
But Cousteau was a man with dubious standards. He invented the aqualung and made a fortune and spent it on exploring the oceans - by older standards he was probably a fair conservationist who didn't excite much criticism, but by modern standards he was questionable if not terrible - I remember reading that the animals in his care had a very miserable life (e.g. the seals he kept had a habit of dying of dehydration and getting replaced with others), and his filming was faked some of the time. The Life Aquatic warns that all filming is fake to some extent, Cousteau's, David Attenborough's, Wes Anderson's. A rottentomatoes critic complains of the variety of film stock used by Anderson, missing the point that the more garish stuff very successfully mimics Cousteau's 50s and 60s film stock. But how many of us remember Cousteau's TV programmes enough to get the satire? I see Cousteau DVDs are available, but they are not quite cheap enough for me to want to revisit him.
I'm not a huge Bill Murray fan, but I like him in this.
A spotter, less coherent experience than Tenenbaums or any of Anderson's later works, but definitely not terrible either. I particularly enjoyed Willem Dafoe's character and the wonderful performances of Portuguese musician Seu Jorge (a full set of recordings of him covering Bowie songs is featured in the extras). The Criterion Bluray features a crystal sharp image, rich colours, and a detailed and clear soundtrack. You also get a slew of extras including documentaries, cast and crew interviews, and storyboards and photos.
I don't buy many DVD's at all but since seeing Grand Budapest Hotel ( bought CD on the strength of hearing the score through snippets on Classic FM then the DVD as a consequence) where I found the dry sense of humour absolutely delightful so I bought some more of Wes Anderson's work ..to watch on holiday including this one and I wasn't disappointed.. in fact I have just ordered the rest of them!! ( they will pass some time in a positive way as I broke my ankle on that holiday!!) these are very "different".. quirky, intelligent deadpan humour - will watch over probably several times( something I rarely do) to relive the delicious "jokes" and enjoy those I probably missed! I would recommend starting with Grand Budapest Hotel if you have never seen any of his work.. the best way to see if his earlier work will be for you.
I've had the DVD (PAL & NTSC) of this film for many years and was never very happy with the video quality. I presumed it was the film itself but I was wrong. This blu-ray version is a revelation. The image quality is massively improved, very clear, superbly realised colours (that are chosen deliberately to accentuate scenes and which were largely inobvious on DVD) and the audio quality is greatly improved too. Some of the dialogue was always a bit muddy but not anymore. I can't recommend this highly enough but be warned it is region locked to A so you need a US play option.
there is dry and then there is Bill Murray dry. this is drier than a parched Murray in a desert after eating a bag of salt. it also happens to be the best film I have seen in ages. hilarious and touching.